Five things boards members should know about building and fire safety

Since the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, housing leaders have rightly been taking action to keep buildings and residents safe. Here are five things board members need to know to support that work.

17 December 2018

  1. The hearings for phase one of the public inquiry are ending. This phase has covered the events of the night, the fire safety measures present in the building at the time of the fire, and the response from the emergency services. You can read the evidence, including expert reports on how the fire spread and the fire safety systems in place at the time of the tragedy, on the Grenfell Tower Inquiry website.
  2. The implementation plan for the Hackitt Review has been published. This plan doesn’t deliver substantial detail about how the new system will work in practice, but does include important details about significant consultations expected in the spring. You can read more in our summary. The Government has also published calls for evidence to inform a full technical review of Building Regulations Fire Safety Guidance in Approved Document B, and to invite views on how residents of multi-occupied buildings can best be supported to help keep their homes and buildings safe.
  3. Ongoing remedial work, and new advice on window panels and other cladding materials. There are 160 tall buildings in the social housing sector where failed ACM cladding was identified. Latest government figures show that remediate work on 116 of these buildings has either been started or completed. The Government has also recently issued important advice on window panels and the use of other cladding materials on housing blocks. We encourage board members to read these.
  4. The Government continues to investigate issues with fire doors. We know there is a widespread problem with glass-reinforced plastic composite doors and that further testing is being carried out on timber doors. You can read a fire door FAQ produced by MHCLG for more information.
  5. The ban on combustible materials. The Government has also laid regulations before Parliament bringing into force a ban on the use of combustible materials on the external wall of any building over 18 meters.

We are keen to support board members and leadership teams as they consider ways to enhance building and resident safety across their organisations. As part of this work, we’re hosting free events across the country with the Local Government Association in February.

Register your place at one of these events to hear good practice from across the sector and get a direct update from MHCLG officials.